Artists Phil Taylor and Chitra Kumar started their production and djing career through running their own night, Agenda, in Manchester’s underground scene. Under the alias Philthy Chit, their sound was directed more towards bringing the ‘ecstasy’ back into dance music, with a euphoric energetic grounding, holding onto the principles of the genre they grew up with in the late 90s as they watched the scene around them turn, in their opinion, towards a more minimal and hollow version of an intelligent and emotive music institution.
Zen 3.1 is their more hallucinogenic and evolved take on progressive house music. Focusing more on layering sounds to create auras and atmospheres to dictate musical experiences and journeys rather than aiming to stick to a blueprint of big room club sounds, their sets and productions hope to highlight the subtleties of dance music genres and the ways in which they can be overlapped and interwoven to create original progression.
“For years progressive house and techno has seemed to stick to a linear pattern, and the word progressive too often taken to mean an increase in bpm and energy towards the end of a set rather than a true flowing of harmonies and melodies, contrasting whilst complementing, leaving the listener always guessing and never predicting and ultimately always engaged.”
Zen 3.1 is hopefully about exploring different ways to approach dance music, and learning whether progression is possible without sticking to defined formulas and patterns and always holding onto the belief that it should remain emotive.
10 DJ questions
What was your first ever record?
To be honest be were late into the whole DJing and started in the digital revolution! If we think about it though one of the first actual vinyl records we bought was Pryda Aftermath, which we took with us to see Eric Prydz playing @ Sankey Soaps in Manchester and got him to sign it.
Who were your Heroes and Influences growing up?
Early on we were both heavily influenced by the trance scene before we moved onto the more progressive sounds. DJs such as Tiesto and Sasha were 2 that really stood out towards the late 90’s for us.
Which came first DJing or Producing?
The DJing started as a one off night 6 years ago which we wanted to put on to celebrate with all of our friends and extended ‘clubbing family’ to share the music that had brought us all together – a night of anthems and memories in an underground basement in Manchester. We enjoyed it so much that it became a monthly event up until the club succumbed to flooding and shut down!
Whats the story behind this mix?
After returning from a 10 month travelling tour of the world, Chitra had been out of touch with dance music for too long and after spending a few weeks re-familiarising himself with the current scene decided to put together the best of what he thought was the showcase for the up and coming sounds of the future.
Whats the home studio set up like?
At the moment it is a mobile laboratory so to speak!
Any future plans you would like to share?
Hopefully to build on our recent production success under our alias Philthy Chit by releasing more productions for Zen 3.1 and perhaps even play them out at our own night: AGENDA which will be celebrating its 6th birthday this November.
Whats your take on the Analogue vs Digital debate?
It is always easy to be sceptical about technology and it’s infringement on something which is an art such as music and DJing. We remember feeling the same when we were clubbing and seeing DJs using the first laptops over a decade ago. But now seeing it from the other side, there’s only one way to look at it really. There is a difference between allowing software to synch and beat-match all your tunes and effects so that you can put together more interesting sounds and expend your energy and concentration elsewhere in the mixing, than just using digitalisation to allow you to pull up a chair and magazine whilst the clubbers look at you as if you were a poor excuse for a juke box. Ultimately, there are those for whom digitalisation has meant enhancing creativity and experimentation and those who feel their job has just become easier.
Are there any producers/labels you always go to for new material?
We like to keep things varied but a few producers have caught our eye this year particularly such as George Fitzgerald, Midland and Bicep. And of course there is always Bedrock Records to rely on!
What makes them special to you?
These newer artists seem to be creating an interesting new sound in dance music which is proving to be both innovative and at the same time somehow still sound ‘old school’
Whats your dream DJ gig?
For the intimacy and sound system and the history behind it, The Sub Club in Glasgow has to be the one. An institution if ever there was one for the movement of dance music through the decades.
1. Dual Shaman_Ocean Breeze_TJ Kong Nuno Dos Santos Remix (Wolfskuil Records)
2. Ferdi Blankena_Mothers Son_Roger Gerressen MILF Remix (Wolfskuil Records)
3. Kasey Taylor_Vamusa_Rodskeez Remix (Vapour Recordings)
4. Chymera – If Not Youw Who (Dirt Crew Recordings)
5. Mano Le Tough – Baby Let’s Love – Midland Remix (Dirt Crew Recordings)
6. Tom Glass – Naive (Hope Recordings)
7. Jemmy – Quarry Bank – Stelios Vassiloudis Remix (Bedrock)
8. We Love_End Of The Night_Viadrina Remix (Bpitch Control)
9. Alex Niggemann_Dont Wait_et Remix (Poker Flat Recordings)
10. Stephan Bazbaz_Hurt Me_Mihai Popovicius Morning Dub Mix (Overdrive Musik)
11. Stimming_David August_Sexy Biest_Gui Boratto Remix (Diynamic)
12. Oxia_-_Whole_Life (Sun Step)
13. Guy Gerber_Jaw_Steady feat Jaw_Richie Gs Shes The One Remix (Supplement Facts)
14. Kevin Yost – Peristence – Guy J Remix (Lost & Found)
15. Bicep – You – Ejeca Remix (Aus Music)
16. Way Out West – Spaceman – Robert Babicz Remix (Hope Recordings)
17. George Fitzgerald – Unilateral (Aus Music)
18. Djuma Soundsystem – Bipolar – dOP Remix (Rebirth)
19. Guy Gerber_The Golden Sun and the Silver Moon feat Clarian_GG Clarian Edit (Supplement Facts)
20. Radio Slave – KMaze – youANDme Disco Dub Remix (Rekids)
21. Nina Kraviz_Aus Feat King Aus On The Mic_DJ Qu Remix (Rekids)
22. Ink Fushion_Soitklein_Leo Rojas Remix (Stellar Fountain)
23. Midland – Through Motion (Aus Music)
24. ThermalBear_U Love_Sasha Remix (Last Night On Earth)